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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 126 pages of information about Fern's Hollow.
It seemed a terribly long time to wait amid that noise and dust, and every now and then Black Bess relieved her feelings by making hideous grimaces at her when she passed the cabin door; but Stephen ascended at last, very stern-looking and silent, for Tim had told him Martha’s business; and he hurried her away from the pit-bank before he would listen to the detailed account she was longing to give.  Even when they were in the lonely lane leading homewards, and she was talking and sobbing herself out of breath, he walked on without a word passing his lips, though his heart was sending up ceaseless prayers to God for help to bear this trial with patience.  Poor old home!  There was all the well-used household furniture carried out and heaped together on the turf,—­chairs and tables and beds,—­looking so differently to what they did when arranged in their proper order.  The old man, with his grey head uncovered, was wandering to and fro in sore bewilderment; and little Nan had fallen asleep beside the furniture, with the trace of tears upon her rosy cheeks.  But the house was almost gone.  The door-sill, where Stephen had so often seen the sun go down as he rested himself from his labours, was already taken up; the old grate, round which they had sat all the winter nights that he had ever known, was pulled out of the rock; and all the floor was open to the mocking sunshine.  It is a mournful thing to see one’s own home in ruins; and a tear or two made a white channel down the coal-dust on Stephen’s cheeks; but he subdued himself, and spoke out to the labourers like a man.

‘I know it’s not your fault,’ he said, as they stood round him, making explanations and excuses; ’but you know grandfather could not sell the place.  I’ll get you to help me carry the things down to the cinder-hill cabin.  The sheep and ponies are coming down the hill, and there’ll be rain afore long; and it’s not fit for grandfather and little Nan to be out in it.  You’ll spare time from the work for that?’

‘Ay, will we!’ cried the men heartily; and, submitting kindly to Stephen’s quiet directions, they were soon laden with the household goods, which were scanty and easily removed.  Two or three journeys were sufficient to take them all; and when the labourers returned for the last time to their work of destruction, Stephen took little Nan in his arms, and Martha led away the old man; while the sound of the pickaxes and the crash of the rough rubble stones of their old home followed their slow and lingering steps over the new pasture, and down the hillside towards Botfield.

CHAPTER X.

The cabin on the cinder-hill.

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